Bittersweet chocolate walls, soaring ceilings, great art, glossy surfaces, small bar, large crowd. Which all sets the scene for perfectly bubble-edged Neapolitan pizzas, arguably the best salumi in the city, and a kitchen that knows its way around a vegetable. We rarely make it to the secondi here because it’s so easy, and such a pleasure, to load up on antipasti, primi, and a pizza or two. Buttery sautéed chanterelle mushrooms are flavored with marrow and cut through with parsley—decadently rich. A whole, deeply roasted cauliflower makes an impressive presentation and a delicious addition to the table. Fresh tagliatelle is sauced with rabbit and porcini mushrooms, hearty and divine, and we’d never leave home if Mom could make a stracci with oxtail and fried chicken livers. End with the satiny chocolate hazelnut budino. Domenica's superb happy hour, with half-price pizzas from 2 to 5pm, 7 days a week, helps explain why it's often cacophonous. The bar pours well-priced boutique Italian wines and popular homemade cellos. Okay, service is inconsistent, ranging from prompt and knowledgeable to perfunctory. And still it’s worth it. Reserve in advance. Also consider the casual uptown outpost, Pizza Domenica (; 504/301-4978).